Navy Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., commander of U.S. Pacific Command, spoke at the 4th Japan-U.S. Military Statesmen Forum in Washington D.C. last week, addressing threats to the United States and its allies in the Pacific, including China, North Korea, and the Islamic State in the Philippines.
Admiral Harris explained that the nature of the threats posed in the Pacific dictate that U.S. and allied forces learn to adapt as quickly as the environment changes, which has been at an increasing rate in recent years. Those rapid changes include North Korea’s recent advances in ballistic missile technology, including two successful ICBM test launches, as well as China’s increasing aggression in the East and South China Seas. ISIS banding together with other extremist organizations to capture and occupy Marawi City in Mindanao in the Philippines also represents a new development in the region that threatens U.S. and allied interests.
“That’s a lot of change in the last 12 months,” Harris said. “But I’ll point out three truths that have not changed.”
Those three truths, according to the PACOM commander, are the importance of the Indo-Asia-Pacific region to the United States, American’s determination to remain a Pacific power and leader, and finally, the importance of a strong U.S. – Japanese alliance.